Join us on March 7th for the opening of Magic, Mirth, and Mortality: Musings on Black Motherhood between 6-8pm. Be a part of the conversation and help us lift up the lived experiences and art of writer Shawana Brooks, and visual artists Marsha Hatcher, Cheryl McCain, and Tatiana Phoenix. It’s free and open to all!

Joy. Fear. Guilt. Generational connection. Grief. Deep love. These are only a few of the complex emotions experienced by all mothers. ‘Magic, Mirth, and Mortality: Musings on Black Motherhood’ is an exhibition inspired by the lived experiences of writer, curator, community builder, wife, and mother Shawana Brooks. Centered in the exhibition are her ‘motherhood musings’ written and shared during her pregnancy, the premature birth of her son, and an extended stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Brooks’ words will be shown alongside visual art by Tatiana Phoenix, Marsha Hatcher, and Cheryl McCain. Their paintings, drawings, and prints express the courage, delight, vulnerability, and fierce determination that mark their experiences as mothers and views of the universality of this role.

The personal views expressed in the art become socially potent in light of the unique inequities and challenges faced by Black women from maternity to watching their children become adults. Statistics on mortality rates, inequity in healthcare access, and institutional bias against Black women will add to the narratives of these four women and the women who came before them. This combination of memoir, visual art, and data is intended to create a space for healing, awareness building, sharing, and collective action. These intentions will be supported through a series of programs and experiences including spoken word events, artist talks, performances, and intimate conversations that will open opportunities for people to be seen and see one another.

Shawana Brooks’ work is supported in part through an Art Ventures Grant from The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida. The exhibition and related programs were co-created by Shawana Brooks, Marsha Hatcher, Cheryl McCain, Tatiana Phoenix in partnership with the Yellow House team of Phyllis Bell Davis, Hope McMath, and UNF intern Corinne Lightfoot.

Art by Tatiana Kitchen